The First Step
The Camerata Ensemble, led by conductor Marisa McLeod, is comprised of musicians who are early in their musical training. It introduces students to the basics of ensemble playing, following a conductor, and listening across a musical group while playing. Students in the Camerata Ensemble must have at least one year of experience on a string, wind, brass, or percussion instrument (either in a group setting or private lessons).
- Nine months of weekly rehearsals led by conductor Marisa McLeod and instrument-specific sectionals led by local professional musicians.
- Three public performances at venues throughout Santa Barbara.
- Students receive two free tickets to every regular season Santa Barbara Symphony concert, and access to reduced priced tickets for additional family members.
- Invitations to talks, meet & greets, open rehearsals, and masterclasses with the extraordinary professional musicians of The Symphony and visiting guest artists.
- Invitations to participate in enrichment opportunities with community partners such as Santa Barbara Unified School District music programs, Santa Barbara Strings, Music Academy of the West, UCSB and Westmont College.
- Santa Barbara Symphony Youth Ensembles T-Shirt
- Attend weekly Sunday rehearsals from 1-2:30pm. Students rehearse during the school year from September through May and must be on time for all rehearsals and performances.
- Students are expected to further their musical education outside of rehearsals by:
- Practicing their instruments and assigned material on a daily basis
- Participating in their school music program
- Attending at least 5 Santa Barbara Symphony concerts
- Taking private lessons is highly recommended
- Families are expected to:
- Help students keep a regular practice schedule
- Volunteer for and participate in social events and fundraising activities.
2023-2024 Audition Information
Apply now and join the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Youth Ensembles for the 2023-24 season!
As the only youth orchestra program in the region connected to a professional symphony and a college, the Symphony’s multi-level Youth Ensembles present a unique learning opportunity for young musicians to develop their skills and connect with music and each other.
Students playing oboe, bassoon, brass, or low strings are particularly encouraged to apply — but ALL orchestral instrumentalists in the 3rd to 12th grades are invited to audition!
Rehearsals for the winter term begin November 19th, 2023. We are currently accepting mid-year applications as space in the orchestras allow. Once we receive your application we will reach out to schedule your audition. To ensure appropriate ensemble placement, all new and returning students are required to audition.
If you have any questions, please contact us at Education@TheSymphony.org or 805-898-1417.
2023-2024 Audition Requirements
- Level: beginner. For students with at least one year of experience on a woodwind, brass, percussion, or string instrument.
- Recommended Suzuki level for strings: book 1-2
- Scales and Arpeggios:
- String players prepare a one-octave major scale and arpeggio of your choice: A, D, C, or G or a two-octave major scale and arpeggio: C or G.
- Woodwind and brass players prepare a one-octave major scale and arpeggio of your choice: concert B-flat, E-flat, or F.
- Percussion players: if playing mallet percussion, prepare a one-octave major scale and arpeggio of your choice on glockenspiel.
- A solo piece or excerpt, which best demonstrates both technical and musical skills on the instrument (no accompanist needed)
- Percussion players: please prepare a solo piece or excerpt on either snare drum or glockenspiel.
- Sight-reading: to demonstrate your ability to read and learn new music, you will be given a short passage to sight-read in the audition.
All-inclusive tuition for the nine-month program $500
As a non-profit, generous annual donations from Symphony supporters enable us to keep tuition fees to a minimum. Need-based tuition assistance, payment plans, and sibling discounts are available and admitted musicians will not be turned away due to finances. If tuition fees pose a challenge, please reach out to the Education Programs Manager at 805-898-1417.
Support this program!
Would you like to join our family of donors and support this program? Annual donations at any level have a big impact. They can fund scholarships, help pay our faculty, provide instruments and more!